From Lanoue Gallery:
Lanoue Gallery is pleased to present, in collaboration with the office of U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton in Massachusetts’ 6th Congressional District and Harvard University’s Middle East Initiative, the solo exhibition, Homeland inSecurity, featuring work by Mohamad Hafez.
The gallery will host a reception and Artist’s Talk, Thursday, April 13th from 5 to 8 pm.
Congressman Moulton will deliver an introduction and remarks beginning at 5:45 pm. The show will run through Sunday April 30th.
Mohamad Hafez, who was born in Syria and is a permanent resident of the United States, is an architect and artist currently residing with his family in New Haven, CT. The artwork featured in Homeland inSecurity came out of Hafez’s pained response to seeing media coverage of his homeland obliterated by a war that has turned more than 11 million Syrians into refugees.
When Hafez first moved to the United States in 2003 on a student visa to study architecture, he discovered that his visa was only valid for one entry. Being Muslim, and having a name like Mohamad in a Post 9/11 America, meant that visiting home was to risk never being allowed back into the United States again.
He spent the next eight years in the US without once seeing his homeland. Hafez coped with his homesickness by creating highly detailed and intricate miniature models of the neighborhoods he had wandered about and sketched with loving detail as a teenager. But as time went on, Hafez began modeling the effects that the bombing was having on Syria’s buildings, homes, and streets as a reflection of his pain at the deep and unfathomable loss his country was experiencing.
Congressman Moulton, an Iraq war veteran who served four tours, was introduced to the art of Mohamad Hafez through Chris Mawhorter, the Middle East Initiative Events Assistant at the Harvard Kennedy School. The two offices began to collaborate to help Hafez find an appropriate venue for a public exhibition of Hafez’s miniature models. Gallery owners Susan and Mark Lanoue became aware of these efforts through mutual contacts. Deeply moved by Hafez’s universal message of longing and loss, and simultaneously frustrated by global events in the name of “homeland security”, the Lanoues immediately volunteered both their gallery and curatorial team for the cause.
Homeland inSecurity will showcase twenty sculptures and installation works by Hafez, some of which feature lighting and sounds recorded in Syria, allowing viewers a multisensory experience. It will be the largest exhibit of Hafez’s work to date. Says Hafez of the exhibition opportunity, “My art is a voice for the Syrian refugees, for Muslim Americans, for forced migrants. I understand the fear of the unknown. But I hope people will come to this exhibit, perhaps meet me and talk about my work with me, and let us find the common ground that connects us all as human beings.”
Congressman Moulton adds, “Mohamad’s ability to capture the grim reality facing the Syrian people is moving. And his commitment to use his work as a platform for creating awareness of the Syrian Civil War is inspiring. He shows the deep humanity of the people affected by this unimaginable tragedy, and his passion and mission align with my own efforts to call on Massachusetts, and people around the world, to help these refugees.”